American Cancer Society

The death rate from cancer in the U.S. has declined steadily over the past 25 years, according to annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society. As of 2016, the cancer death rate for men and women combined had fallen 27 percent from its peak in 1991. This decline translates to about 1.5 percent per year and more than 2.6 million deaths avoided between 1991 and 2016.

The drop in cancer mortality is mostly due to steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment. But not all populations are benefiting. Although the racial gap in cancer deaths is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic inequalities are widening. “Cancer Statistics, 2019,” published in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the U.S. this year. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world. The information is also released in a companion report, Cancer Facts and Figures 2019, available on the interactive website, the Cancer Statistics Center.

A total of 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the U.S. in 2019. During the most recent decade of available data (2006 – 2015), the rate of new cancer diagnoses decreased by about 2 percent per year in men and stayed about the same in women. The cancer death rate (2007 – 2016) declined by 1.4 percent per year in women and 1.8 percent per year in men.